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56                            LETTERS   FROM   THE

man went to his stable unobserved, and stele
away as soon as he had saddled his horse. As
he had forgotten in his hurry to take a cloak,
and was overtaken by a very heavy and per-
sistent shower of rain, he took refuge near Nan-
terre, in a public-house which was famous for
dressing eels a la mateloUe. There he found a
well-looking man at the door, driven in also by
the storm, and accosted him. Finding him a
decent, well-informed person, the nobleman en-
tered into further conversation, and at last good-
naturedly proposed to treat him with a dish of
eels, as the smell of the dinner had awakened his
own appetite. They sat down, dined and drank a
merry glass together. When the weather cleared
up, the nobleman paid for his reckoning and
called for his horse; the stranger then took him
aside, and, naming him, said:

" Sir, I know you well, though you are thus
unattended. The liberal behaviour and confiden-
tial intercourse with which you have honoured
me have made such an impression upon me that
I am determined, at all hazards of my own, to
preserve you from destruction. I know you are
summoned in the most secret manner to a rendez-
vous with the Cardinal, and there, I know, you
will immediately be strangled and your body